How do we deliver a just transition?

Posted by Duncan Price on 22nd November 2019

Duncan Price round

Now’s the time to build a competitive and inclusive green economy

A timely transition towards a net zero carbon economy offers significant opportunities for economic growth and industrial competitiveness.

The General Election also offers an opportunity – for a new government to set out a green vision for the UK, bringing together the environmental, economic and social agendas.

As well as reducing emissions in line with the UK’s target of achieving net zero by 2050 at the latest, government must accelerate innovation. This will support the UK’s economic competitiveness and drive job creation in evolving industries and new supply chains.

The business case for tackling the climate and environmental emergency 

Research by BuroHappold for Aldersgate Group showed that well-developed climate policy, supported by ambitious and properly enforced regulations, offers numerous economic opportunities. These include increased investment in skills, research and innovation, as well as market and job creation.

But we also need a just transition for workers and communities across the UK. We need to ensure that no groups are disproportionately affected by the transition to a net zero economy, and that the workforce is adequately prepared for it.

Included in this just transition is the development of a national low carbon skills strategy. Such a strategy will  ensure the current and future workforce is equipped with the skills it needs to benefit from the employment opportunities that arise in the transition to a net zero economy.

We have already seen the impact of robust policies and regulations around low emissions vehicles, waste reduction, low carbon power and sustainable construction. They can spur innovation, create new jobs and make UK industries more competitive in growing international markets.

Global relevance

This will be highly relevant for the future, with mayors of cities worldwide – including Copenhagen, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Tokyo – announcing their support for a Global Green New Deal that puts inclusive climate action at the centre of all urban decision-making.

As the Aldersgate Group manifesto Time to deliver: building a competitive and inclusive green economy argues, tackling climate change and environmental degradation should therefore be a central priority for the new government and sit at the heart of the UK’s economic policy.

Duncan Price is a Partner at BuroHappold